Belfast Telegraph

Opening of temporary houses for homeless delayed after workers receive threats

Council chiefs hope to open temporary houses for the homeless in mid-January after workers were threatened by people wearing balaclavas and told "to go back to the north".

Dublin City Council (DCC) is building 22 modular homes at Baile na Laochra, Balbutcher Lane, Poppintree, Ballymun, but the project was delayed after locals protested.

A group entered the site on November 26 and stopped work.

Construction staff from the Tyrone firm Western Building Systems were threatened that their machinery would be burnt out.

The council said: " The contractor informed DCC of a very serious escalation of the protest and that on the night of the 26th of November, the contractor's security staff were threatened by persons unknown wearing balaclavas.

"They were told to go back to the north or their machinery would be burned out. Due to health and safety concerns the contractors removed staff from the site."

It is understood there were concerns in the community that the temporary accommodation would become permanent despite the site originally being designated for new social housing.

There was further intimidation from protesters the following day, the council said, including threats that 150 people would descend on the site.

The council said the area had been selected after the homeless crisis in the city reached unprecedented levels with hundreds of families in "unsatisfactory hotel accommodation".

At the time there were 705 families with 1,466 children in emergency homeless accommodation.

The project had been due to be completed by Monday but the dispute now means it will not open for families until the middle of next month as partially built units will not be erected and left open to the elements over the holiday period.

Builders have been back on site since December 3 but a number of days were also lost due to bad weather.

"This delay was completely outside the city council's control," the council said in a statement.

Plans are also under way for another 131 modular home to be built across Dublin.


From Belfast Telegraph